July 28, 1806
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July 28, 1806


The morning proved fair, I slept sound but fortunately awoke as day appeared, I awaked the men and directed the horses to be saddled, I was so soar from my ride yesterday that I could scarcely stand, and the men complained of being in a similar situation however I encourged them by telling them that our own lives as well as those of our friends and fellow travellers depended on our exertions at this moment; they were allert soon    prepared the horses and we again resumed our march; the men proposed to pass the missouri at the grog spring [1] where rose river approaches it so nearly and pass down on the S. W. side, to this I objected as it would delay us almost all day to reach the point [EC: mouth of Marias ] by this circuetous rout and would give the enemy time to surprise and cut off the party at the point if they had arrived there, [2] I told them that we owed much to the safety of our friends and that we must wrisk our lives on this occasion, that I should proceed immediately to the point and if the party had not arrived that I would raft the missouri a small distance above, hide our baggage and march on foot up the river through the timber untill I met the canoes or joined them at the falls; I now told them that it was my determination that if we were attacked in the plains on our way to the point that the bridles of the horses should be tied together and we would stand and defend them, or sell our lives as dear as we could.    we had proceeded about 12 [3] miles on an East course when we found ourselves near the missouri; we heared a report which we took to be that of a gun but were not certain; still continuing down the N. E. bank of the missouri about 8 miles further, being then within five miles of the grog spring we heared the report of several rifles very distinctly on the river to our right, we quickly repared to this joyfull sound and on arriving at the bank of the river had the unspeakable satisfaction to see our canoes coming down. [4]    we hurried down from the bluff on which we were and joined them striped our horses and gave them a final discharge imbrarking without loss of time with our baggage. I now learned that they had brought all things safe having sustaned no loss nor met with any accident of importance. Wiser had cut his leg badly with a knife and was unable in consequence to work. [5]    we decended the river opposite to our principal cash [6] which we proceeded to open after reconnoitering the adjacent country.    we found that the cash had caved in and most of the articles burried therin were injured; I sustained the loss of two very large bear skins which I much regret; most of the fur and baggage belonging to the men were injured.    the gunpowder corn flour poark and salt had sustained but little injury the parched meal was spoiled or nearly so.    having no time to air these things which they much wanted we droped down to the point to take in the several articles which had been buried at that place in several small cashes; [7] these we found in good order, and recovered every article except 3 traps belonging to Drewyer which could not be found.    here as good fortune would have it Sergt. Gass and Willard who brought the horses from the falls joined us at 1 P. M. I had ordered them to bring down the horses to this place in order to assist them in collecting meat which I had directed them to kill and dry here for our voyage, presuming that they would have arrived with the perogue and canoes at this place several days before my return.    having now nothing to detain us we passed over immediately to the island in the entrance of Maria's river to launch the red perogue, but found her so much decayed that it was imposible with the means we had to repare her and therefore mearly took the nails and other ironwork's about her which might be of service to us and left her.    we now reimbarked on board the white peroge and five small canoes and decended the river about 15 ms. and encamped on the S. W. side near a few cottonwood trees, [8] one of them being of the narrow leafed speceis and was the first of that kind which we had remarked on our passage up the river.    we encamped late but having little meat I sent out a couple of hunters who soon returned with a sufficient quantity of the flesh of a fat cow.    there are immence quantities of buffaloe and Elk about the junction of the Missouri and Maria's rivers.—    during the time we halted at the entrance of Maria's river we experienced a very heavy shower of rain and hail attended with violent thunder and lightning.

N. 65° W.      ½ mile to a Lard. Bend.
S. E.   1 〈2〉½ miles to a St. Stard. Side at a Sluce through the Island
East   1 ½ miles to the Lower point of the large Island.    passed the
〈enteranc of a large dry Creek on the Lard Side〉
N. 80° E   1 mile to Lard Bend    passed the upper point of an Island
N. 40° W.   2 ½ miles to 〈Stard.〉 Lard. Side.    passed the enterance of a river
80 yds wide 〈littl wate〉 on the Lard Side.
S. 35° E   2 miles to a Stard Bend    passed Isld.
N. 52° E   1 ½ miles to a Lard Side
S. 64° E.   1 mile to the Stard Side
N. 40° E   1 ¼ miles to the Lard Side passed a Crek on the Stards.
Side    30 yds wide wth wate
East   1 mile to Stard Side
North      ¾ of a mile to the Lard Side
N. 35° E.   2 ½ miles to a Stard. Bend opsd. an Isld.
N. 20° W      ½ a Mile to a yellow bluff on Lard Sid
N. 60° E   2 miles to Lard Bend of a low Prarie    no wood
South   3 miles to a high Bluff below a brook    low naked bottom on
Lard Side—
S. 45° E   2 ½ miles to a Stard. point below a Bluff yellow Stone opsd. an
Island    opsd. some remakable tables in the Lard. plains
S. 70° E.   3 ½ miles to upr. pt. Isd. in the Stard Bend    high Bluff on the
Stard. Side
N. E   2 miles to the enteranc of Table Creek 30 yds wide on the
Lard Side    nearly dry
East   7 miles to a Stard Bluff 〈passed〉 high    passed 3 Island and
a river of 70 yd wide on the Lard. Side but little water in it.
buttle little timber.
East   2 mils to the enteranc of little horn R.    from the S S. E 100
yds wide and Contain a great portion of water.    but little
wood    a Small Island opposite
N. 55° E.   4 ½ Miles to the Center of a Lard Bend    passd a Brook on
Stard. Side    at 3 miles psd. I
N. E   5 ½ miles to the Center of a Lard.
S. 45° E   1 ½ miles to the lower part of a Bluff in which there is 2 Stratias
of Stone cole in Strates of from 4 to 8 feet thick about
30 feet above the water. Horozontially.    pd. an Island
a large Creek on Lard at 1 mile
East   8 Miles to a high Coal Bluff on the Stard Side.    passed a large
Creek at 6 miles on the Stard. Side    Passed 2 Islands. [9]
N 60° E.   4 ½ Miles to a Cluster of large trees in the Stard Bend in an open
Plain    passed 5 Islands and Sevral bars
N. 10° W.   1 ½ mils to a Lard. Bluff    a vain of Coal in this Bluff about
30 feet above the water    Stard. bottoms an enteranc.    a
brook on Lard—
N. 73° E   6 〈4?〉 miles to a [coal?] Point of the Lard. Bluff in which there is
5 Stratas of Coal    psd. an island Close to the Lard Side
river having made a deep ben Std.
S. 75° E.   2 miles to the Enterance of a Brook in the Stard. Bend
passed the head of an Island close to Lard Shore    En-
camped on Stard Side—

Set out this morning at day light and proceeded on glideing down this Smooth Sream passing maney Isld. and Several Creeks and brooks    at 6 miles passed a Creek or brook of 80 yards wide [NB: called by Indns—or Little Wolf river ] [10]    on the N W. Side Containing but little water.    6 miles lower passed a small Creek 20 yds wide on the Stard Side [11]    18 Miles lower passed a large dry creek on the Lard Side [12]    5 Miles lower passed a river 70 yards wide Containing but little water on the Lard Side which I call Table Creek [13] from the tops of Several mounds in the Plains to the N W. resembling a table. [14]    four miles Still lower I arived at the enterance of a river 100 yards wide back of a Small island on the South Side.    it contains Some Cotton wood timber and has a bold Current, it's water like those of all other Streams which I have passed in the Canoes are muddy. I take this river to be the one the Indians Call the Little Big Horn river. [15] The Clifts on the South Side of the Rochejhone are Generally compd. of a yellowish Gritty Soft rock, whilest those of the N. is light Coloured and much harder    in the evening I passd. Straters of Coal in the banks on either Side    those on the Stard. Bluffs was about 30 feet above the water and in 2 vanes from 4 to 8 feet thick, in a horozontal position.    the Coal Contained in the Lard Bluffs is in Several vaines of different hights and thickness.    this Coal or Carbonated wood is like that of the Missouri of an inferior quallity. [16]    passed a large Creek [17] on the Stard. Side between the 1st and 2nd Coal Bluffs    passed Several Brooks the chanel of them were wide and contained but little running water, and encamped on the upper point of a Small island opposit the enterance of a Creek 25 Yards wide [NB: Inds Call Ma Shas-kap riv. ] on the Stard. Side with water. [18]

Courses distance and Remarks July 28th 1806 [19]
N. 65° W. ½ to a Stard. [20] Bend      ½
S. 45° E. to the island at the enterance of a Small Sluice   1 ½
East to the lower point of the island   1 ½
N. 80° E. to the Lard. Bend    passed the upper point of an }   1
N. 40° W. to the Lard. Side.    passed the enterance of river }   2 ½
partly dry 80 yards wide on the Lard Side little wolf
S. 35° E. to a Stard. Bend    passed an island   2
N. 52° E. to the Larboard Side   1 ½
S. 64° E. to the Starboard Side   1
N. 40° E. to the Lard Side    passed a Creek 30 yards wide on the }   1 ¼
Starboard Side    but little water in it
East to the Stard. Side   1
North to the Lard Side      ¾
N. 35° E. to a Stard. Bend opposit to an Island   2 ½
N. 20° W. to a yellow bluff on the Lard. Side [21]      ½
N. 60° E. to a low prarie in a Lard. Bend   2
South to a high bluff below a Brook. [22]    low open botton }   3
on Std.
S. 45° E. to a Stard. point below a Clift of yellowish Stone [23] }   2 ½
opsd. to an island. Some remarkable mounds in the
plains on Lard Side
S. 70° E. to the upper point of an island in the Stard. Bend high }   3 ½
Bluffs on the Stard. Side
S. 45° E. to the enterance of Table Brook    30 Yds wide on the }   2
Lard Side    nearly dry
East to a Stard. Bluff    passed 3 islands and Table river on }   7
the Lard. Side    70 yards wide    Some water
S. 86° E to the enterance of Little Horn river [EC: Mashaskup of }   2
Clarke's map] [24]    from the S. S. E. 100 yards wide with a
Considerable portion of running water. Scattering tim-
ber on its borders a Small Island opposit its enter-
ance.    water Muddy
N. 55° E to the Centr. of a Std. Bend    passd. a brook on Std. [25] at }   4 ½
3 miles
N. 45° E. to the Center of a Lard. Bend   5 ½
S 45° E. to the lower part of a Bluff in which there is 2 Stratias }   1 ½
of Stone Coal on Std. Side. [26]    passed a Creek on
Lard. [27]
East to a high Coal Bluff on the Lard Side    passed a large }   8
Creek at 6 miles on the Stard. Side & 2 Islds
N. 60° E. to a cluster of large trees in the Lard. Bend. passed 5 }   4 ½
islands and Several bars
N. 10° W. to a Lard. Bluff    a vein of Coal in this bluff about }   1 ½
30 feet above the water.    bottoms lowe on the the
N. 73° E. to a Coal point of the Lard Bluff in which there is }   6
5 Stratias of Coal at different hights all Horozon-
tal.    an island Close to the Lard Side    the river have
ing made a deep bend to Stard. Side
S. 75° E. to the enterance of a Brook in the Stard bend behind }   2
an island.    passed an island Close the Lard
Shore.    encamped on the Small Isld.
Miles 73

The Elk on the banks of the river were So abundant that we have not been out of Sight of them to day. J Shields killed 2 deer & Labeech killed an Antilope to day.    the antilopes and deer are not Abundant. Beaver plenty


Monday 28th July 1806.    two hunters went on eairly a head. Howard killed two deer.    we proceeded on as usal    about 9 A. M. we discovred on a high bank a head Capt. Lewis & the three men who went with him on horse back comming towards us on N. Side we came too Shore and fired the Swivell to Salute him & party    we Saluted them also with Small arms and were rejoiced to See them &c. Capt. Lewis took us all by the hand, and informed us that they had good Sucksess in going to their journeys end and Crossd. a number of branches & forks of Marriahs River and followd. up a North fork [28] to Latidude [blank]    got his observations for the Lat. but the cloudy weather prevented him from gitting the Longitude &c.    but found it was not much difference from the Mouth of Morriah    they then Set off on their return the day before yesterday and met with eight of the Grousevauntaus [29] Indians with bows & arrows and 2 guns.    they at first appeared afraid but after a little wrode up and Shook hands with Capt. Lewis & party and appeared friendly    they desired Capt. Lewis to go with them to their Nation which they said was under the blanket mountn. Some distance about 2 days march.    but Capt. Lewis told them that he Could not wait but desired them to come down to the Mouth of Morriah promiseing them the horse if they would comply but they were afraid of being killed by us.    they had upwards of 20 horses but they were ordinary ones or the most of them.    they Camped with Capt. Lewis & men as they expected they were friends, though Capt. Lewis had a watch up all night, and at day break yesterday morning the eight Savages Seased all our mens guns and Capt. Lewises also.    they Instantly Sprung up out of their Sleep and Ruben Fields chased an Indian who Capt. Lewis had made a chief gave him a meddle last evening & he was running of with R. Fields and his brothers Jo Fields guns. Reuben overhalled him caught hold of the 2 guns had his knife drawn & as he Snatched away the guns perced his knife in to the Indians heart    he drew but one breath    the wind of his breath followed the knife & he fell dead    they all Seased their arms from the Indians and took one of the Indn. guns and all their bows and arrows and their Shields which they were on their backs at war.    they then went at running after our horses    Capt. Lewis wounded one more badly but the Indn. partly raised and fired back at him but missed him.    they cleared out with Some of our horses and Some of theirs, though Capt. Lewis took as many as he wanted of theirs and left the rest & made all haste towards us and had wrode 100 and 20 miles Since yesterday morning, and much fatigued and turned out the horses in the plain & threw the Saddles in the River & came on board the canoes. [30]    then we proced. on with as much Speed as possable. Soon overtook the 2 hunters who had killed Several Elk a buffaloe & one beaver.    we now keep to gether and are concerned about Sergt Gass & Willard who went down by land.    about 1 P. M. we arived at the forks of Marriah    opened the carshes [31]    found all except 4 Steel traps which were put in a carsh by themselves & we could not find the place. Some beaver skin and Robes &c. Spoiled.    the other articles all Safe and dry &C. Sergt. Gass and Willard joined us with the horses.    we left the horses here    crossed to the N. Side    found the red perogue Safe but too Rotten to take down. So we took Some of the nailes out of hir and Set out. Sergt Gass & Willard had killed Several buffaloe and 7 antelopes as they came down from the falls by land.    we Soon had a hard Shower of rain & large hail. Some larger than a musket Ball Thunder and high winds a head but we procd. on untill evening and Camped [32] on South Side and kept a Strict guard. Collins killed a buffaloe.    we got the best of the meat of it.    late in the evening we had a Shower of rain which lasted about a hour.—


Monday 28th.    The morning was fine and pleasant, and at an early hour we proceeded down the river. In our way we killed six goats or antelopes and seven buffaloe; and about one o'clock came to the point at the mouth of Maria's river, [33] where we met with the party who had come down from the falls by water, and who had just arrived; and also unexpectedly with Captain Lewis and the three men who had gone with him. They had joined the party descending the river this forenoon, after riding one hundred and twenty miles since yesterday morning, when they had a skirmish with a party of the Prairie Grossventres, or Bigbellied Indians who inhabit the plains up Maria's river; of which they gave the following account. [34] On the evening of the 26th Captain Lewis and his party met with eight of those Indians, who seemed very friendly and gave them two robes. In return Captain Lewis gave one of them, who was a chief, a medal; and they all continued together during the night; but after break of day the next morning, the Indians snatched up three of our men's guns and ran off with them. One Indian had the guns of two men, who pursued and caught him; and one of them killed him with his knife; [35] and they got back the guns. Another had Captain Lewis's gun, but immediately gave it up. The party then went to catch their horses, and found the Indians driving them off; when Captain Lewis shot one of them, and gave him a mortal wound; who notwithstanding returned the fire, but without hurting the Captain. So our men got all their own horses but one, and a number of those belonging to the Indians, as they ran off in confusion and left every thing they had. Our men then saddled their horses, and made towards the Missouri as fast as possible; after Captain Lewis had satisfied himself with respect to the geography of the country up Maria's river.

We this day took the articles out of the place of deposit, and examined the large red periogue we left here, [36] and found it too rotten to take down the river. We therefore took what nails out of it we could, left our horses on the plains and proceeded down the river. About the time we started a heavy gust of rain and hail, accompanied with thunder and lightning came on and lasted about an hour, after which we had a cloudy wet afternoon, and in the evening we encamped about twenty-five miles below the forks.

1. The Grog Spring does not appear on any expedition maps, but it was located in Chouteau County, Montana, a few miles northeast of Fort Benton in the vicinity of the very close approach of the Teton and Missouri rivers to each other; see June 12, 1805. Grog is a mixture of rum and water. (back)
2. Lewis's fear was that Blackfeet pursuing his party might instead encounter the group coming down the Missouri from the Great Falls and that this group, unaware of the danger, would be taken by surprise. He had to reach the mouth of the Marias, the designated rendezvous with this river party, in time to warn them. (back)
3. This number is not entirely clear, since it appears possible that "2" was written over "9" or vice versa; Thwaites (LC), 5:227, has "12." (back)
4. Lewis had left Sergeant Gass, Werner, Frazer, Thompson, McNeal, and Goodrich at the Great Falls on July 16, 1806, to recover materials from the caches and to portage around the falls. On July 19, Sergeant Ordway joined them at the White Bear Islands camp, having come down with canoes from the Three Forks where he had separated from Clark on July 13. Ordway's party consisted of Collins, Colter, Cruzatte, Howard, Lepage, Potts, Weiser, Whitehouse, and Willard. The two joined and came down the Missouri to meet Lewis. There is some question as to whether Lewis's dog Seaman was with this party or with Lewis's party on the Marias. Osgood (ODS), 15–17. (back)
5. This occurred on July 23 while they were portaging around the falls, according to Ordway. (back)
6. This cache in Chouteau County, between the Marias and the Missouri, was about a mile upriver from the camp of June 3–12, 1805. See Clark's entry of June 10, 1805. Atlas maps 42, 53, 61. (back)
7. Located at the camp of June 312, 1805, at the mouth of the Marias in Chouteau County. Atlas maps 42, 53, 61. (back)
8. Lewis's camp was on the south bank of the Missouri in Chouteau County, a little below the mouth of Crow Coulee. It is marked on Atlas map 42, which suggests that Lewis had this and the other original draft maps of the route from the Mandan villages to the Great Falls (Atlas maps 33–42) with him at this time. See Introduction to the Atlas, p. 9. MRC map 75. (back)
9. The following figures preceded by the word "mils" appear as a column between courses at right angles to the other material on the page: 58, 55, 43, 35. They are Clark's mileage totals for July 16 through 19, 1806. (back)
10. Not to be confused with the "Little wolf or Winsors Creek" of July 27, 1806, on Atlas map 110, which is present Muggins Creek. The present stream is Big Porcupine Creek in Rosebud County, Montana, reaching the Yellowstone River a few miles west of present Forsyth. Clark's original route map for July 28–August 1, 1806, is missing, but the map prepared for Prince Maximilian in 1833 (Atlas map 119) shows "Little Wolf River" clearly. (back)
11. Armells Creek meets the Yellowstone in Rosebud County a few miles below the mouth of Big Porcupine Creek on the opposite side. It is unnamed on Atlas map 119. (back)
12. This is the "Table Brook" of the courses and distances, below, which is not the "Table Creek" of the journal narrative; it is now Little Porcupine Creek in Rosebud County, several miles downstream from Forsyth. It is "Table Creek" on Atlas map 119. (back)
13. Horse Creek in Rosebud County, not far below the mouth of Little Porcupine Creek. On Atlas map 119 it is a large, unnamed stream below Little Porcupine Creek (Clark's "Table Creek" on the map). (back)
14. These formations in Rosebud County extend from two to four miles northeast of Forsyth on the north side of the Yellowstone River, but are not noted on Atlas map 119. (back)
15. Not the present Little Bighorn River, a tributary of the Bighorn River in Big Horn County, Montana (see July 26, 1806). This stream is Rosebud Creek, meeting the Yellowstone in Rosebud County a mile or so above present Rosebud. It is a large, nameless stream on the south side of the Yellowstone on Atlas map 119. (back)
16. By early afternoon Clark left the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (Lance) behind and entered the area underlain by the coal-bearing Tertiary (Paleocene) Tullock Member of the Fort Union Formation. This member is exposed on both sides of the river, but the colors may result either from the effect of sun and shadow on the rock or from differences in weathering caused by exposure. The coal is ranked as lignite. The beds here are too thin and discontinuous for anything but local use. (back)
17. Sweeney Creek in Rosebud County, not named on Atlas map 119. The coal bluffs do not appear on the Atlas map. (back)
18. Graveyard Creek, in Rosebud County just west of the Custer County line, meeting the Yellowstone a little below present Hathaway; "Mar shas kap River" on Atlas map 120. The camp, as Clark notes, was opposite the creek mouth in Rosebud County. The Indian name would have been obtained from the Mandans or Hidatsas, but Clark may have misidentified it, since the actual Mar-shas-kap appears to have been Rosebud Creek; see Fort Mandan Miscellany. The term appears to be a Hidatsa name, mickapa aaši, "rosebud creek" (see July 19, 1806). (back)
19. Again, underlining in both lead and blue pencil throughout this table, probably Coues's doing; it is not given here. (back)
20. It is given as "Lard." in the draft version. (back)
21. The Hell Creek Formation just northwest of Forsyth about where U.S. Highway 12 crosses the Yellowstone River. (back)
22. Either Smith or Slaughterhouse creeks in Rosebud County joining the Yellowstone on either side of Forsyth; on Atlas map 119 it is the second nameless stream below "Little Wolf River" on the opposite side. (back)
23. Again, the Hell Creek Formation, here just downstream from Forsyth. (back)
24. Apparently this is Coues's notation; if so, the reference must be to Clark's published map of 1814 (Atlas map 126), but the "Mar shar kop" of that map cannot be either the "Little Horn" (clearly shown on the map), or "Table River" of the previous course, which was on the opposite side of the Yellowstone. The stream shown on the 1814 map seems to be in the right location for Graveyard Creek, which Clark idenfies by the name "Mar shas Kap" in the journal. (back)
25. Presumably Butte Creek in Rosebud County, entering the Yellowstone just below present Rosebud; a small unnamed stream just below the large, also unnamed river (present Rosebud Creek) on Atlas map 119, on the south side of the Yellowstone. (back)
26. The strata of coal mentioned through this area are in the Tullock Member of the Fort Union Formation. This formation approaches the river at the town of Rosebud about midway between Clark's morning camp and his evening camp. (back)
27. Sand Creek in Rosebud County joins the Yellowstone from the north a little above later Thurlow Siding; it does not appear on Atlas map 119. (back)
28. Cut Bank Creek on the Pondera-Glacier county line, Montana. Lewis's account of these days is found at his entries from July 17 to this day. (back)
29. Ordway uses the term Gros Ventres loosely here. The term was usually applied to the Hidatsa or Atsina Indians but in this case represents Piegan Blackfeet. (back)
30. Lewis recounts the incident in his entry of July 27. (back)
31. One cache was between the Marias and Missouri rivers in Chouteau County, about a mile upriver from the camp of June 312, 1805. See Clark's entry of June 10, 1805. Another was at the camp of June 312, 1805, at the mouth of the Marias River. (back)
32. On the south bank of the Missouri in Chouteau County, a little below the mouth of Crow Coulee. (back)
33. Where the Marias River meets the Missouri, Chouteau County, Montana, the site of the party's camp of June 312, 1805. (back)
34. See Lewis's account of this episode in his journal entries of July 2627. These Indians were Piegan Blackfeet. Gass follows Lewis in identifying them as Gros Ventres, that is, Atsinas, who were allies of the Blackfeet. Non-Indians referred to them as Gros Ventres, or Big Bellies, of the Prairie, as distinguished from the Gros Ventres of the Missouri, who were the Hidatsas, a wholly unrelated people. (back)
35. By Lewis's account the Indians seized the guns of all four of the party; the Field brothers pursued, and Reubin stabbed the Piegan. (back)
36. They cached the red pirogue on an island in the then mouth of Marias River, on June 10, 1805. (back)